How skincare’s pH balance protects against ageing and irritants

Published Jul 11, 2024


Maintaining a healthy pH balance is not just about what goes inside our bodies but also how we treat our skin.

Yes, the concept of pH balance reaches far beyond diet and into the realm of skincare, an area where balance is not just beneficial but essential for a glowing, healthy complexion.

This natural acidity helps to keep the skin's barrier function in check, protecting against environmental stressors, bacteria, and other pathogens that could contribute to irritation or skin conditions.

This fundamental aspect is often overlooked but it's super important.

Alkalinity balance keeps our skin barrier in check. Think of your skin as a special environment that needs just the right balance to stay happy and healthy.

Learning about pH balance and using natural products to keep it just right can totally change your skincare game, making your skin look and feel amazing.

What's skin pH all about?

According to Nicole Sherwin, founder of Eco Diva Natural Superfood Skincare, pH stands for "potential hydrogen" and it's a way to measure how acidic or basic a substance is on a scale from 0 to 14.

The sweet spot for our skin's pH is a bit on the acidic side, between 4.5 and 5.5. This acidity helps form a protective layer on our skin called the "acid mantle". This layer is super important because it fights off bad bacteria, pollution and keeps our skin from getting too dry.

If this delicate balance gets messed up, our skin can start to freak out, leading to irritation, redness and other skin problems.

Balanced pH makes sure skin cells renew and repair themselves properly. Picture: Supplied

Why is keeping pH balance so important?

According to to her keeping our skin's pH in check is key to having strong, healthy skin. "A balanced pH helps keep your skin's protective barrier strong, stops your skin from getting too dry or losing moisture, and protects against bad stuff from the outside world”.

She also mentions that a balanced pH makes sure skin cells renew and repair themselves properly. Plus, when your skin's pH is just right, all those skincare products you use can really do their magic.

How pH balancing skincare works?

Skincare products formulated to balance pH typically contain ingredients that align with the skin's natural acidity, explained Sherwin.

These products, which include cleansers, hydrating mists, moisturisers and serums, are carefully crafted to match the skin's natural acidity.

This method helps to preserve and strengthen the skin's acid a mantle a vital layer that protects against environmental aggressors and ensures a strong and healthy skin barrier.

If you’re looking for radiant, resilient skin, prioritising pH balance is indispensable.

Here are some of nature's stars known for their ability to help keep our skin's pH in harmony according to the beauty expert :

Baobab oil: Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids. Its pH-balancing properties stem from its ability to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. It helps replenish the skin's natural lipid barrier, thereby supporting its pH balance.

Additionally, its high vitamin C content aids in collagen synthesis, promoting skin elasticity and resilience.

Marula oil: Praised for its ability to keep the skin’s natural balance in check, it also offers deep moisture, safeguarding the skin from outside threats.

Its lightweight texture makes it suitable for all skin types, imparting a radiant glow without clogging pores or causing irritation.

Shea butter: Renowned for its moisturising and emollient properties, shea butter is a pH-balancing powerhouse. It is packed with vitamins A, E, and F, along with essential fatty acids.

Its pH-balancing action lies in its ability to form a protective barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture and shielding against external aggressors.

Shea butter's soothing and anti-inflammatory properties make it particularly beneficial for dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

Almond oil: Rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and oleic acid, almond oil hydrates and softens the skin while promoting pH equilibrium. Its gentle nature makes it suitable for sensitive skin types, soothing irritation and redness.

Almond oil also aids in maintaining the skin's elasticity and suppleness, contributing to a youthful complexion.

Sesame seed oil: It has a natural acidity that matches your skin's, with a pH somewhere between 4.5 to 5.5, just like our skin's own protective layer.

This means it's good at keeping our skin balanced without causing any problems or irritation. It's full of good fats, especially linoleic and oleic acid, that gently cover the skin.

This barrier helps cover and keep moisture in and stops pollution and other harsh stuff from wreaking havoc on our skin. By helping keep the skin's protective layer strong, sesame seed oil plays a big part in keeping the skin's natural acidity in check.